Accessory Dwelling Units

During the third series of Community Conversations on Growth in 2018, the city shared various proposals to address the need for affordable housing. One key component of this effort was exploring ways to maximize land use to support the creation of additional affordable housing in appropriate locations by amending the development code. The first area the city considered changes to was Accessory Dwelling Units.

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a second, smaller dwelling that can be built on a property already occupied by a single-family home. ADUs require design standards that include both specific materials and façade/appearance requirements that are compatible with other homes in the area. ADUs must also be placed on a permanent foundation.

ADUs are not “tiny homes on wheels,” as these mobile dwellings are considered recreational vehicles or campers by the city’s development code. Such tiny homes are prohibited from being classified as ADUs by the city’s development code. Additionally, due to the mobile nature of tiny homes on wheels, they pose additional regulation challenges in terms of building safety, life safety, and relevant area design standards.

Examples of ADUs

Development Code Updates

Following an extensive outreach period where community members shared their thoughts on the proposed changes, the city proposed amending the Development Code to align with the broader vision of the community.

In particular, the city decided to maintain the current requirement that the property owner remains on-site, either in the primary unit or in the accessory dwelling unit. Additionally, On June 11, 2019, the Mayor and City Council approved the amendment of the Development Code that includes the following changes:

Increase Maximum Size

Previously, ADUs were limited to 600 square feet or 10% of the parcel size, whichever is smaller. Now, ADUs are capped at 700 square feet, while maintaining the 10% limit. Thus, larger ADUs can be built on larger parcels.

Allow More Than One Bedroom

ADUs can now include up to two bedrooms, contingent upon the overall size of the ADU. This change makes ADUs a more affordable housing option for a small family.

On-Site Parking Requirements

Two-bedroom ADUs must now have at least one dedicated parking space on-site or an immediately adjacent street with no exceptions. Requirements of one parking space per ADU can only be waived for one-bedroom ADUs on an individual basis.

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